I saw a very interesting clip from PBS that states sleep is a necessity for us to have a deep understanding of ourselves. I can state through my experience that sleep does help you understand things of our past in our unconscious mind. For example, when we are depressed we want to sleep a lot. Could it be that depression is related to a sleep deprivation not made conscious, but made real by stress and constant worries?
Sometimes even though you think you have slept, you really did not.
There are several sleep stages (source wikipedia):
NREM consists of four stages according to the 2007 AASM standards:
- During Stage N1 the brain transitions from alpha waves (having a frequency of 8 to 13 Hz, common to people who are awake) to theta waves (frequency of 4 to 7 Hz). This stage is sometimes referred to as somnolence, or "drowsy sleep". Associated with the onset of sleep during N1 may be sudden twitches and hypnic jerks also known as positive myoclonus. Some people may also experience hypnagogic hallucinations during this stage, which can be more troublesome to the subject. During N1 the subject loses some muscle tone and conscious awareness of the external environment.
- Stage N2, is characterized by "sleep spindles" (12 to 16 Hz) and "K-complexes." During this stage, muscular activity as measured by electromyography (EMG) lowers and conscious awareness of the external environment disappears. This stage occupies 45 to 55% of total sleep.
- In Stage N3, the delta waves (0.5 to 4 Hz), also called delta rhythms, make up less than 50% of the total wave-patterns. This is considered part of deep or slow-wave sleep (SWS) and appears to function primarily as a transition into stage N4. This is the stage in which night terrors, bedwetting, sleepwalking and sleep-talking occur.
- In Stage N4, delta-waves make up more than 50% of the wave-patterns. Stages N3 and N4 are the deepest forms of sleep; N4 is effectively a deeper version of N3, in which the deep-sleep characteristics, such as delta-waves, are more pronounced. As of new AASM guidelines, the determination between stage 3 and stage 4 sleep is inconsequential and both may be considered delta sleep or slow wave sleep. Therefore, in a recent ruling by the AASM, in order to make precision the scoring guidelines, stage four had been disbanded, and left is the stage of sleep N3 to describe the delta sleep attributed to it.
When we sleep, our memories become a milk-shake, and imagination becomes the secret ingredient. They all interact to help you have a clear and tranquil mind. I have sometimes trouble sleeping when I am full of stress and worries. I do know I am still tired although I have just waken up after sleeping. I have also realized that when I do sleep properly my mind has new insights, and I feel a lot better about myself. I am happier, want to think, study, and go investigate issues a lot more.
As you might see, I had a good night sleep... I have been sick, so I have no choice, but to sleep in order to get healthy. It does work. Not only your body get healthier, but your mind becomes clearer.
I have just remembered something I have studied some time ago about sleep stages:
There is something really mystical about sleep stages, it is said that those who practice deep meditation can reach delta waves, and still be aware and conscious of their surroundings. Those meditators' bodies become stiff as if they were asleep, their minds can rest in a sense they can stop their thoughts, and become one with the present moment. It is then when these people can actually understand the true meaning of love and compassion because you can consciously understand what Walt Whitman said about all being one.
It is said that what these meditators actually do is to have highly active frontal lobes, the ones who are involved in the highest brain functions of humans. The frontal lobes are the ones that for example, does control our basic instinct impulses. People who have trouble controlling their impulses may have something wrong with their frontal lobes. This was something people were studying to find out if certain serial killers had a "biological" explanation.
If this is true, there is a long way to keep studying, discovering, and analyzing how dreams, brain functions, memories, sleep, and many other things interact to create the complex human being.
I guess, we've all got a chance to expand our ways we view life through the dream milkshake of our past memories, future expectations, and then learn from our own minds what is going on inside ourselves (and the crazy outside).
Sometimes, dreams can even reveal if we are doing the right thing or if we should change.
Dreams are truly a path to the unknown, let's wait, and see what they will reveal through science in the future... (or perhaps, in your bed night time.) I really enjoy these topics, perhaps I will talk a little more about them later. Do you enjoy them? Then, watch the video:
It is really interesting!
Or read more about the brain and meditation: